Detroit’s DJ SuperDre saves souls on the dance floor

Source: SuperDre

Source: SuperDre

You know that your Black Girl Magic is potent when you win a legal battle over your name … against Dr. Dre. Detroit-based female DJ SuperDre has earned the claim to her name with her euphoric brand of house and techno music. The software architect by day fuses her creative right brain with her cerebral left brain, proving that she is indeed super.

Continuing with our “Fierce Female DJs of Detroit” series, rolling out caught up with DJ SuperDre between gigs. The devoted “Game of Thrones” fan shared her thoughts on Detroit’s music scene, her mantra for life and more.

How did you get the name SuperDre?
Dre is my nickname from first grade. When I was kid, I played instruments and everybody was like, “You play so many instruments—you’re super!” When I started doing music, I said, “I might as well go by what people have been calling me.”

Tell us how you got into deejaying.
I actually studied music in school. I’m more on the production side. I didn’t start deejaying until I was in college. I’ve always been into music. I started playing piano when I was four. I play piano, saxophone and violin. I saw other people doing it and I thought it looked cool. I was making music and I figured I might as well play it, too. DJ Shortie out of California had a series of DVDs on how to DJ, so I ordered the DVDs and got some turntables off of Craigslist and this super terrible two-channel mixer and that’s how I taught myself.

Who would you say are mentors for you?
I had the great pleasure of meeting Moodymann [Kenny Dixon Jr.] and I like the way that he does things. I always like to watch people like that. Stacey [Hotwaxx Hale] is another one that I like to watch and DJ Minx obviously because they’re females who’ve been doing it for a really long time.

Because there’s such a small pool of female DJs, how do you thrive in this male dominated industry? Have you experienced any cattiness? 
I’ve seen a little bit here and there, but I think overall we all try to look out for each other. With guys, you always have to prove yourself. You always have to be better. You have to fight harder for things. When you’re on lineups, guys are notorious for going over their set time. You have to assert yourself or you’ll get run over. And then if you assert yourself too much, you’re a bitch. It can be kinda tough, but I’ve had fairly positive experiences.

What are some mantras you live by?
Try to be a nice person, be kind, show up on time. Relationships are really important; that’s how you get your next gig. Be a stand-up person. There are a lot of people who could probably DJ circles around me, but they’re difficult to deal with.

What are some of your future goals?
For the next year, I’m going to focus heavily on production stuff. My album is done; it’s been done for a while. It’s my first full-length project. So right now, we’re label shopping. This one is more diverse in terms of styles of music. More hip-hop, more chill vibe; the other stuff has always been house and techno.

What stimulates your creativity?
Usually, it tends to be when chaotic things in my life happen. That’s when my best work tends to happen.

What’s your take on Detroit’s music industry?
In LA, there are so many weird things that people do in the music industry that you never knew were real jobs. Here, I wish we had a better industry footprint. We need a pipeline for all these talented people. Everybody shouldn’t be struggling, putting their first label together. There needs to be a better platform to help people.

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